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Parliament’s culture

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, May 22nd, 2019 - 128 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Politics, workers' rights - Tags:

The release of the report into Parliament’s culture was pretty dramatic.  The basic conclusion is that the halls of Parliament is full of awful people who treat their staff and workers very poorly.

I was not surprised.  Politics has this unfortunate habit of attracting some really base people.

This morning Trevor Mallard decided to apply a blowtorch to the allegations.  From Radio New Zealand:

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard says it’s his impression from the report on bullying at Parliament that people have been raped there, and he is urging the victims to go to police or support agencies.

The independent report by Debbie Francis – ordered by Mr Mallard after a series of cases of bad behaviour – was scathing in its denouncement of a culture of serious bullying and harassment at Parliament.

As well as rife bullying and harassment since at least October 2014, the first-of-its-kind report found sexism, racism and unreasonably aggressive behaviour by and between staff, managers, MPs, media and the public – and a system that protects the perpetrators.

Some of the most serious accusations included allegations of sexual harassment, including three cases of serious sexual assault.

Mr Mallard told Morning Report‘s Susie Ferguson it was his interpretation that people had been raped at Parliament.

“We’re talking about serious sexual assault, well that, for me, that’s rape … that is the impression I get from the report, yes.”

And as can be expected politics is now being played.

Please no speculation about particular people or incidents.

How about we discuss what can be done to change the way that Parliament operates?

128 comments on “Parliament’s culture ”

  1. A 1

    It seems to explain some of the responses to my letters.

  2. BM 2

    Playing politics?

    For fuck's sake, you can't say that people have been raped in parliament but oh well there's nothing we can do about it, let's try and move on.

    Whoever did it and it sounds like they were a repeat offender, should be hunted out and chucked in prison.

    And I don’t care who they are or what party they are from.

    • Sabine 2.1

      s'up with you, i am agreeing with you?

      but we don't treat rapist as the menace they should be.

      this guy too will get the 'prominent' nz'ler with name surpression, meanwhile the victim will have to deal with very little help with the fall out.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      Exactly BM. Rape is right up with murder as a serious criminal allegation. Imagine if Mallard had said "I'm under the impression there is a murderer in Parliament" … and then initiated a 'culture review'. Fuck me, this is an urgent matter for the Police.

      But to make the allegation and then effectively leave it hanging over everyone is wrong.

      A culture review may well serve a useful purpose, but as said below, it's the innately confrontational nature of our political system that is at the root of the problem; it rewards aggressive behaviour and then we wonder why it spills out into places where it shouldn't.

      • Poission 2.2.1

        Well there have been violent acts performed in Parliament and Mallard was remiss in not reporting it.

      • SPC 2.2.2

        Given the number of unreported rapes in this country, there would be few larger workplaces without a perp working there. What's so special about parliament being a rapist free zone?

      • Booker 2.2.3

        I don’t see what the big disagreement is about – in fact, it seems that everyone is on the same page on what they want (the rapist reported to Police) just not how to get there.

        The problem is it’s a report where people were assured they could confidentially report wrong-doing, and three women have reported very serious wrong-doing. Mallard doesn’t know who it is, so no point anyone (National included) mouthing off at him. Mallard is clearly concerned and both (a) wants the women to file complaints with Police, and (b) acknowledges the system of reporting sexual assault can be difficult for “victims” (for lack of a better word) and that it needs reform (which is happening).

        The only person or people who know are the ones who conducted the review, and even then the women involved may have reported than someone did something to them without naming who, so maybe the report writers don’t know the alleged attacker for each case.

        Bottom line is two-fold: perpetrators can’t be brought to justice if no one makes a complaint. Hopefully with the release of the report each of these women will realize there’s at least two others in the same situation, that their experience wasn’t an isolated incident and that will tip the balance in favor of them laying a complaint with Police.

        Second, is that National are saying the women involved shouldn’t be laying complaints and that this should be taken out of their hands and the people involved in writing the report should hand their complaints to Police without the consent of the women involved and despite the fact they revealed this information *in confidence*. Personally I don’t believe that is appropriate and is likely to further traumatize them. Of course, Paula Bennet has always been all for handing over private information without people’s consent, so I can see why she’d be confused over the ethics of this.

    • SPC 2.3

      There is a reason many in the police and law etc would not recommend to people they know to go forth with rape allegations.

      The people who came forward here were guaranteed anonymity, the person they talked to did not refer names to the Speaker and would not betray the trust of those who talked to her.

      Mallard was right to both call for and leave it to those involved to decide on whether to talk to police.

      • I feel love 2.3.1

        Bennet seems to not quite understand what "consent" means or "trust".

    • mickysavage 2.4

      I was referring to Paula Bennett saying how bad it is and how we should never tolerate this sort of behaviour and it is all Mallard's and Labour's fault.

      Labour has its share of people whose behaviour should not be tolerated. National does too, probably twice as many. I was hoping the "it is all Labour's fault" would not happen.

      • BM 2.4.1

        My God man, must everything be the "My Team isn't as bad as your team !!!/ is better than your team!!! bullshit?

        I know you want to be a Labour MP, is this what you have to do to be selected?

        • mickysavage 2.4.1.1

          Did you actually watch the clip? I was referring to Mallard's attempt to keep this apolitical and Bennett's attempt to politicise it to hell.

          • BM 2.4.1.1.1

            I was referring to this

            Labour has its share of people whose behaviour should not be tolerated. National does too, probably twice as many.

            • mickysavage 2.4.1.1.1.1

              Please prove me wrong. If I was a dyed in the wool Labour supporter I would be saying we have no such people and they are all tories. I am admitting that in Labour's ranks are people who have problems.

              • BM

                National may have its share of people who root goats Labour does too, probably twice as many.

                Prove me wrong.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Slip slidin' away
                  Slip slidin' away
                  You know the nearer your destination
                  The more you're slip slidin' away

                • Charlie

                  C'mon, the farmers party have been rooting anything with four legs ever since gumboots have been around, well known that is.

    • Lucy 2.5

      Really – every workplace I have been in there has been at least one creepy guy. The complaint did complain and nothing happened – why would she go to the police when her employer wouldn't do anything. There was also a serial groper there who apologized and still works with the woman he assaulted. This is why women don't go to the police, apart from the prosecution stats – but you can take it from me every woman knows who not to catch a lift alone with – that's all we have!

  3. Kat 3

    That dreadful Paula Bennett right on que blathering about Trevor Mallard " harboring of criminals" and that National are "really serious" about this. Her hair stylist must have advised her to lift her political profile, a bit. Where is Nationals internal culture report.

  4. marty mars 4

    There needs to be a strong investigation to find this person and have them face the courts. The safety of the people within Parliament is paramount. It is not acceptable for this to just sit and not be resolved imo.

  5. Anne 5

    The first thing that needs to be done is for the powers that be whoever they are deemed to be:

    to publicly apologise to all women (and some men too), past and present, who reported bullying, terrorising and harassment of all kinds and who were ignored, regarded as fantasists or accused of lying and punished for it – sometimes over and over again.

    This applies to the public service as a whole and not just parliamentary services.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    Why is David Seymour so totally tone deaf to the environment around him. How can someone who has risen to Parliament lack self awareness so bigly?

    For him to bully Golriz Ghahraman in such a way while this is all being played shows how arrogant and out of touch that dolt is, and what a poor judge of public mood.

    Let’s hope his self-absorbed and spectacularly clumsy foray into politics ends at the next election.

    Women are standing up now and the ring wing white men don’t like it one bit.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/05/women-mps-urge-david-seymour-to-apologise-for-golriz-ghahraman-remarks.html

    • marty mars 6.1

      Yep pablo has a good post on it too

      … Seymour, supposedly a Libertarian, calls Ghahraman an “menace to freedom” because she wants to tighten legislation on hate speech (which, unlike protected offensive speech involves the incitement to or support for violence against others). His smear is a deliberate incitement to the alt-Right extreme and an implicit call for censorship, an irony lost on him.

      The radio host that he was talking to, Sean Plunket, is a man with serious issues when it comes to women. His track record on gender matters is wretched, so Seymour’s comments gave him room to vent more generally on the subject using Ms. Ghahraman as a foil. What is disturbing is that, as readers may know, violent extremists are surrounded by enablers and accomplices, that is, those who simply look the other way when perpetrators plan and prepare for violence or those who in one form or another, passively or actively help perpetrators in the lead up to the commission of acts of violence…

      http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2019/05/the-misogyny-of-the-alt-right/

      • joe90 6.1.1

        The pair of them fit the bill.

        Online, meanwhile, the call to “debate” is increasingly a gendered demand, made by men as a way of attacking women with whose opinions they disagree. “‘Debate me’ is a tactic of attrition,” says the writer and critic Sarah Ditum. “When some guy shows up in my email, or on Twitter, or in comments demanding ‘a debate’, he’s not after a back-and-forth argumentation closing in on a conclusion; he’s after throwing up enough dust that I ultimately decide stating my opinion is more trouble than it’s worth.”

        The US author and journalist Leigh Alexander agrees. “For a certain kind of man,” she observes, “who is either too privileged or otherwise too sheltered to have engaged much with the meat of life, the field of debate is the only place he encounters issues. Because he has no skin in the game, everything is just a thought experiment. Right now the world is like: ‘Excuse me sir, would you please move over? Can you listen to what I’m saying? Can you stop touching me, can you stop hurting me, can you take no for an answer?’ And these guys, these children, go ‘Debate me, debate me, debate me.’ It’s pathetic.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/03/death-of-debate-jordan-peterson-slavoj-zizek-alexandria-ocasio-cortez

        • Muttonbird 6.1.1.1

          "Debate me", is a favourite demand of our own Sam I think.

          I see he is in meltdown today.

        • Sacha 6.1.1.2

          "the field of debate is the only place he encounters issues. Because he has no skin in the game, everything is just a thought experiment."

          That rings true.

    • Formerly Ross 6.2

      In what way has Seymour bullied Golriz Ghahraman? She wants further restrictions on free speech, and it is appropriate that she be criticised for that. Legitimate criticism is not bullying.

      • Formerly Ross 6.2.1

        A useful website, especially the section on what is not bullying. Some MPs would be advised to read it.

        https://www.bullyingfree.nz/about-bullying/what-is-bullying/

        • Robert Guyton 6.2.1.1

          "The real issue is that deep inside the abuse of Ms. Ghahraman lies male insecurity–that of sexual rejection and a loss of masculinity. People like Seymour hate women like Ghahraman because they cannot have her and never will, which they fear is a public sign of weakness on their part. This frustrates them immensely, and because they have neither the intellect, looks or social skills to attract such women, that frustration has no place to go other than onanistic rage. Beneath the smirks and the boy’s banter is a deep abiding fear of not measuring up."

          http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2019/05/the-misogyny-of-the-alt-right/

          • Sabine 6.2.1.1.1

            and frankly that is a load of bollocks and sexism too.

            they fear her because she is educated, free and on the correct side of history.

            they fear her because the prosperity gospel has run its course and this boat is sinking and she can state this way more eloquently then i ever will.

            But to say that someone who looks average can not 'have' a well educated pretty person is bullshit. We don't choose partners becasue they look good or are less/ more educated then us. if we did we would be back in the dark ages.

            As an aside beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and i know a lot of people were one partner 'looks' better then the others, and one partner is better educated and they are men and women.

            What he dislikes is that she is simply an affront to his privilege. She does not bend the knee, she is his equal. And that is what the dear libertarian has an issue with.

            • Robert Guyton 6.2.1.1.1.1

              The "dear libertarian' is a man and the suggestion that he's a mysoginist to boot is not unreasonable, don'tchathink?

              • Sabine

                that is not the point of my comment Robert and you know that 🙂

                Women too can show the same behaviour as this man and women too can be mysoginist. See the US were quite a few female lawyers and a female governor signed to law a bill that will kill women and female children.

                " lies male insecurity–that of sexual rejection and a loss of masculinity. People like Seymour hate women like Ghahraman because they cannot have her and never will, which they fear is a public sign of weakness on their part.'

                this part is sexist – to both sides. Average looking man (as implied here that he is) can't 'have' and thus 'hate' a women like her? Fuck that is sexist bullshit if ever there was. (So essentially implying he is some sort of incel and thus is violent towards women and blahbalhblah?)

                first of all i thought we would get over the 'having ' 'owning' a women / men thing. – Its like so last ten centuries.

                secondly ' that because he 'can't have her' (maybe he does not want to cause he got a thing for redheads? who knows) makes him less manly is just the projection of whomever uttered these vile words. its sexist.

                Its not a question of he can't have her – question is maybe he does not want her or any other for that matter in the first place, secondly it does not make him less a man for not 'having a women like her' again, he might not actually want a women like her.

                So instead of discussion the ulterior motives of the hologram we are discussing his sexual prowess or lack there of.

                He attacked her because he could. Cynically he understands that her ethnicity, her arrival on our shores as a refugee, her career choices make her an easy target for some and so he attacked her. and now his name is back in the media, while he should have long ago been buried in one the trashbins of history.

                He is a cynical, calculating quite horrible man. But non of that has to do anything with whom he can or not can have as a mate, and frankly to discuss this in this case and to figure it as 'the' reason cheapens the discourse on what is a real issue, bullying, threatening, harming and in some instances killing other humans for being not conform, different and so forth.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "that is not the point of my comment Robert and you know that 🙂 "

                  Well, yes (what happened to that pasted emoticon???
                  I take it, Sabine, that you’re not a bloke. If that’s the case, I wonder if it’s conceivable that there’s a nuance you cannot easily identify?

                  • Sabine

                    that is a really big smile 🙂 lol

                  • Sabine

                    maybe just tired of the old bullshit that is supposed to be funny, to be satire when in fact its just old bullshit that should have been composted years ago.

                    and that is a big smiley. like the biggest one ever. I can see you grin from one ear to the next 🙂

            • Sacha 6.2.1.1.1.2

              When it is mainly attractive young women who rile them, something else is going on than 'fear'.

              Whether a person is out of someone's league has a lot to do with their values not meshing, so it's beyond just their looks. Maybe nasty little men like these hate someone who is everything they cannot be?

            • James 6.2.1.1.1.3

              You make a lot of claims about what he thinks – which is more what you think the reality is – which says more about you.

              Could be he he thinks she’s an idiot and her idea is stupid and a dangerous slope.

              Tou read too too much into it.

              • Robert Guyton

                James: You can't claim to know what Seymour thinks!

                James: Here's what I think Seymour thinks!

          • joe90 6.2.1.1.2

            they cannot have her and never will,

            I'm afraid Pablo's missed the boat, there.

            What riles Seymour and his ilk is that women won't have a bar of the respect my authoritah and cook the man some fuckin' eggs attitude lurking behind the ever so nice mask they wear.

          • Cinny 6.2.1.1.3

            male insecurity–that of sexual rejection and a loss of masculinity

            Exactly, and it's nothing new and nothing has changed. Am currently going through this with Miss 14, the boys at school are being so nasty to her, calling her a fucken slut because she doesn't want to date any of them.

            Going to a meeting tomorrow afternoon about it. Time to help them re-write their bullying procedure, as the current one isn't working.

            Your comment struck the nail on the head Mr Guyton, well said.

            • Sabine 6.2.1.1.3.1

              oh man, it just starts to early does it not.

              so sorry to hear that about your girl. Hope you have any luck with the school.

            • solkta 6.2.1.1.3.2

              Bullying programs in most schools don't work as the teachers carry on being bullies.

              • Sabine

                to be honest i would call this sexual harassment . Maybe that would work better? Because calling someone a very gendered insult is just that.

                • solkta

                  It is still a form of bullying. Most schools work through power and domination – institutionalised bullying.

                  • Sabine

                    i agree, but maybe if it were called what it is 'sexual harassment' then maybe the teachers and the parents and the students would stop with this type of bullying and help the boys understand that that shit can get them into trouble real fast and for a long time.

                    besides, everything can be bullying. beating the crap out of someone is bullying but then it is also commonly charged as assault in a court of law.

                    This attack against Cinnys girl is specific, gendered, and intended to 'bully' her into giving 'it' up and forcing her into compliance. So while it falls under the umbrella of bullying – as does any form of violence against another human being, it is a gender specific form of bullying and commonly this would be referred to as 'sexual harassment' but then maybe it just falls under the 'boys will be boys' excuse?

                    • solkta

                      The argument is equally valid then to call assault assault, intimidation intimidation, willful damage willful damage.

                      I actually do think that when a student commits a crime then it should be labelled such and the Police involved as a matter of course. For that to work though the Police would need to be given genuine options to deal with youth offenders.

                      I don't think though that only one crime should be labelled and treated differently.

            • marty mars 6.2.1.1.3.3

              Good luck Cinny – tough situation for you guys – kia kaha to you all.

      • Robert Guyton 6.2.2

        Tone deaf like Seymour, Formerly?

        Seek help.

      • lprent 6.2.3

        Depends how it is done. If he attacked the basis of her argument rather than her, then it is fine.

        If he dog whistled – ie he simply started describing her as an impediment to whatever ideological foolishness he was promoting – then that is a while different story. That is effctively incitement to the cracked and crazy to attack personally.

        Now every political party has crackedand crazy amongst their supporters. The difference on the right in NZ is that those on the right tend to be pack animals largely bereft of significiant individuality.

        You only have to go into one of their online pens to see that. Kiwiblog or whaleoil comments are a good albeit rather benign introduction.

        Where on site like this or the greens virtually every participant disagrees with almost everyone else, those sites tend to have dimwits vying in personal attacks in unison and authoritarians authors trying to make it so.

        Dog whistling by stupid politicians sets them off, revs them up, and makes some of them dangerous in the real world. It isn’t hard to find examples. In my case it involves having right fuckwits ineffectually trying to interfere in my work life, enteribg conspiracies to break into my servers, and trying g to run private prosecutions.

        Others have had far worse.

        So yeah- I suspect that David Seymour, is like you too stupid to look at what he is spawning.He probably needs to warned and if required charged – if he has been whistling his dogs again into attack mode purely to get headlines.

        • Sacha 6.2.3.1

          I saw somewhere yesterday that the phrase 'menace to freedom' is a known current dogwhistle to nazis, which is why Ghahraman seems confident that Rimmer knew exactly what he was doing.

      • greywarshark 6.2.4

        Formerly Ross

        This is a perfect example of why 'free speech' needs to have some limits. Seymour calls fellow MP a 'menace to freedom' (mm 6.1) and you don't think that is bullying? He is making an attack on free speech himself.! She is entitled to request limits, his approach should be to counter her through legal means as set up by Parliament. Instead he passes a public throw-away negative that shows no respect for her rights, or for the proper process.

        • Formerly Ross 6.2.4.1

          Greywarshark

          Seymour calls fellow MP a 'menace to freedom' (mm 6.1) and you don't think that is bullying?

          I provided you with a link to what isn't bullying. What Seymour said doesn't come close to bullying. Feel free to read it. (Hint: the bully typically has more power than the victim – in this case Ghahraman is in government, Seymour isn't.)

          Ghahraman is a menace to free speech as she wants to impose further restrictions on it. She doesn't seem to realise that the answer to hate speech is more speech.

          BTW it's hearteningly to see Trademe support free speech (sort of).

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112919710/kanoas-okay-to-be-white-stance

          • Incognito 6.2.4.1.1

            Loose labels losing their specific meaning and this dilutes out and weakens attempts to minimise negative behaviour and the harm it causes. I’m with you on this.

    • SPC 6.3

      ACTing tone deaf. There is clearly a difference between calling someone a threat to freedom and saying their views on hate speech might pose limits on free speech.

      Some people remove people who are threats, via resort to violence, whereas differences of opinion are resolved via debate and voting.

      In the language he used he is appealing to the far right extremists.

      The recent assault on a gay pair in Auckland demonstrates what happens when the religious combine alcohol with their prejudice – the bibles reference to condemnation of homosexuals (doing no harm to others) amongst murderers and the like is appealing to the basest prejudice and incites violence.

    • Jimmy 6.4

      Muttonbird with his hate and racist speech again…sigh it never stops with him!

      [Be careful. He is a very careful and considered commenter. This sort of comment will be regarded as an attempt to create a flame war. Please don’t – MS]

      • SPC 6.4.1

        If you see saying white men do not like something, as hate … and racist speech, you sir are one very precious … and highly strung little ….

    • Chris T 6.5

      Considering how much crap, bashing and name calling Bennett gets on this forum, throwing out the mean white male shouldn't criticise the small helpless, innocent lady, is laughably hypocritical

  7. Drowsy M. Kram 7

    Use the team that 'identified' Bridges' travel expenses leaker – then we'll know for sure!

  8. michelle 8

    How this idiot made it into parliament makes you wonder about the people who put him in there now we have him saying stupid things just so he can remain relevant even it is bordering on being dangerous to others.

  9. Dennis Frank 9

    "How about we discuss what can be done to change the way that Parliament operates?" Well, the first 14 commentators declined your suggestion, so looks like I get to be the nonconformist as usual.

    What can easily be done is to set up a committee. Leftists love doing that, and rightists long ago learnt to copy them so they see the practice as tradition, thus it's bound to secure bipartisan consensus. NZF, likewise conservative, will agree, and the Greens will agree if you add the rider that the committee produce a solution via consensus.

    So much for the easy bit. The hard bit is designing new rules that will suffice to change the culture satisfactorily. But only if they try to do that themselves, so I expect they will sic a team of lawyers onto the task. Can we expect lawyers to redesign the way democracy works in parliament satisfactorily? Gosh, hate to be a downer but… devil

    • Kat 9.1

      The only way to change the way that parliament operates is to radically change the system and quite a few of its participants. Lets cut to the chase here. I will admit to being pessimistic on that one Dennis.

      • Dennis Frank 9.1.1

        Understandable. Pillars of the establishment are rarely re-arranged, and when they are, it's almost always by outsiders via coup or invasion. Still, we achieved MMP, so to look on the bright side, we could indeed reform parliament via democratic methods.

        If any decision of parliament to reform itself allows for public participation, the chances of success increase substantially. Let's be optimistic and hope for that. smiley

    • Cinny 9.2

      Dennis it's the culture there that needs to change.

      Am thrilled something is happening, thank goodness we had a change of government.

      Training on how not to be an arsehole could be a great course for some MP's to go on, maybe with a refresher course each 6 months.

      • Dennis Frank 9.2.1

        Indeed, but how to transform the culture without rule-changes? Do parliamentarians get training at all? I vaguely recall new entrants get a basic course in how to do stuff. If so, you're right, ethics could be included then.

        Human nature suggests some males are born arseholes or manufactured into that category by parents and/or social circumstance, and will roll their eyes at any moral instruction. Such people need enforcement of consequences for misbehaviour, and civilisation provides rules as part of law for that.

    • gsays 9.3

      Do we really need more rules?

      I would have thought observing and following the existing rules would be where to start.

      • Dennis Frank 9.3.1

        Good question. My expectation is that legislators know how to legislate, so they will default to legislation. To a hammer, every problem is a nail.

        Sometimes rules get ignored, particularly when enforcers fail to apply them. We've seen corruption resulting from that in many western countries for years. So there's a technical possibility you may be right, in which case folks will start pointing out which rules ought to have been applied, and who failed to do the enforcing. If no sign of that becomes evident in the next few days, you're probably wrong, eh?

  10. observer 10

    Why is there a toxic bullying culture in Parliament? Well, this was less than 4 years ago:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/73925970/

    PM accuses opposition of supporting rapists. MPs object, and talk about their own experiences. Speaker sides with PM, and throws MPs out.

    Anyone who trots out that tired line of "they're all the same" should try and imagine the current PM behaving like that. And then ask why this long-standing shame of Parliament was never addressed before.

    Paula Bennett? She said and did … nothing.

  11. Sabine 11

    Well i guess the best thing we can do is to not name and shame the rapist/sexual assaulter/s but re-elect him/her/them to parliament cause it is the right thing to do and besides won't no one think of the poor dears who would loose jobs and income and prestige and perks.

    The person who got seriously assaulted/raped can apply to ACC for some counseling, surely in the wellbeing budget there will be a few crumbs err dollars for that purpose.

    Good enough?

    • mickysavage 11.1

      It appears that the person complained about was not an MP.

      • Sabine 11.1.1

        good,

        what about the rest, that was also only staffers?

        and who was the MP responsible for this staffer, or does the buck not stop there?

        Who is the manager that did not see what was going on? Cause right now that is just a tad convenient. Sorry, but it is.

  12. Ad 12

    At some point they will extend this review to all core public service agencies.

    Then they'll see the true extent of the damage.

    • Rosemary McDonald 12.1

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/93610475/ministry-hired-eight-lawyers-and-spent-297000-on-second-shoebridge-inquest

      "It's important to note that each expectation comes with information clarifying what is meant by meeting expectations."

      Cooke said the inquest revealed the opposite, and it was "clear they don't have a red flag system for someone who is vulnerable or at risk".

      "They're so intent in saving the taxpayers money and hunting down suspected fraudsters, or creating fraudsters, that sometimes even their staff are confused."

      The inquest heard the manager and investigator on Shoebridge's case barely spoke to each other, and the manager allegedly swore across the room at staff she disliked.

      The investigator said he never wanted to prosecute Shoebridge, and the manager said she was never told of the real risks to Shoebridge.

      In February figures provided to the attorney-general showed MSD was one of the country's most aggressive prosecutors, behind only police and the Corrections Department.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      The one single thing that I would do is get rid of the 'generic manager'. It's founded on the totally wrong idea that authority is only about organisational power, and arbitrarily erases the critical role that competency plays.

      A manager who doesn't have a competent grasp of what their staff is doing cannot understand why something has gone wrong and is therefore helpless to demonstrate leadership and find the fix. Under that pressure it's highly likely that aberrant behaviours like bullying will emerge and become normalised.

      • Anne 12.2.1

        Bang on RL.

        It is what happened back in the late 1980s and the 1990s. More often than not, the new managers (previously they were referred to as Directors) who came in under the Public Service restructuring of the time, had little knowledge or expertise in the subject matter of the department/agency they were managing. They were hired on the basis of their supposed entrepreneurial skills which was ludicrous for what in most cases were essential services to the public. The end result was rorts and buck-passing to those of us on the factory floor (so to speak) who actually did the hard yards.

        I recall making a suggestion to our new manager which he pooh poohed at the time them made the same suggestion to the senior management in Wellington for which he received a special merit grading for his enterprising abilities.

      • Ad 12.2.2

        That's a different issue.

        The crossing of managers from Department to Department as a generic set of skills and a rapidly recycled set of managerial languages and terms is a shading to this kind of bullying culture, but it has clearer effects elsewhere.

        The issue at hand here bullying, and there are a lot of Departments who have deeply uncontrolled, vindictive, cruel senior staff who will hunt you down. Even the remaining PSA staff are in the gunsights of these people.

        I have seen that time and time again.

      • Sabine 12.2.3

        +1

    • Anne 12.3

      Thanks Ad. I've been wanting to see such a review/inquiry for a long time. Not so long ago, I passed documentation on to the police but because my case is now classed as "historical", they agreed only to place it in my file.

      In the event of a full inquiry I think it might come in handy. 🙂

  13. Panda 13

    Mallard does not know who it is. He has said this. Unless a victim comes forward to the police they can not do a thing. It may interest people to know it may not be an MP. It could just as well be a journalist or other. Paulas rant just shows she thinks more about her self interests than those of the victims. Would anyone expect otherwise with the amount of families she saw out on the streets during her reign of terror on the poor.

    • Ad 13.1

      Awesome hearing all this from Mallard, who was one of a core of in-house Labour thugs who smashed and leaked and raged, to keep anyone from getting near to criticizing Hipkins and King as the true keepers of the Labour throne.

  14. Sacha 14

    Bennett knows that the Francis inquiry promised confidentiality to participants. Outing the people who revealed serious attacks would overturn that.

    • Muttonbird 14.1

      She has no problem outing people when she sees fit. Bennett has a lawlessness about her which is damaging New Zealand.

    • SPC 14.2

      The determination of Bennett to over-ride the confidentiality of the process says a lot about her regard for such concepts, and also confirms what we already know by her past actions and the former government (both using a private investigative firm to hunt down people and also arms of the state).

      • Muttonbird 14.2.1

        Can you imagine if she ever made PM. History, and this case, shows she'd have zero issues with using the office for her own gain.

        She'd make Key look like a saint.

    • mickysavage 14.3

      +1

  15. mosa 15

    I have earlier made comments on OM regarding the decision not to open up this report to scrutiny by naming the MPs involved is just a cop out.

    This from idiot savant.

    The report of course refuses to name those MPs, meaning that the independent reviewer is effectively part of this conspiracy of silence as well. Which is not acceptable.

    Naming names is the first step towards accountability, and that needs to happen if anything is to change.

    No right turn has got the analysis spot on.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-toxic-workplace.html

    • SPC 15.1

      He is totally wrong – he is usually a stickler for process.

      The process was based on it being confidential. And its purpose was to identify the scale of the problem and develop systems in place to make for a safer workplace.

      It was never about seeking evidence of crime for the purposes of punishment.

      • mosa 15.1.1

        Yes this a " process " not a full blown inquiry which should be undertaken with what has been uncovered here.

        There will be a lot of people damaged who were in the employment of parliament and have been constructively dismissed from their job and may have a claim with the employment court if they are brave.

        As a " process " it has been woefully inadequate in dealing with what has been uncovered here and its wider ramifications.

    • observer 15.2

      Confidentiality has been guaranteed in advance to those who came forward. The terms of that assurance cannot be changed after people have been given that guarantee.

      A staffer who works/worked for MP X cannot now be exposed by the naming of that MP, against her wishes. There might be only one woman who fits the description.

      This is similar to the court process, where it is decided whether or not name suppression is granted. In some cases (e.g. father assaults daughter) the courts may decide that the balance favours anonymity.

    • Sacha 16.1

      National deputy leader Paula Bennett accused Speaker Trevor Mallard of "harbouring of a criminal"

      What a piece of work.

      • SPC 16.1.1

        Judith Collins competed for attention being concerned for the impugned men of parliament. Interesting how only women of that party come forward …

      • Peter 16.1.2

        Do you seriously expect us to believe that in the circumstances the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would be so cretinous as to say such a thing?

        Do you seriously consider she'd think their supporters are so dumb that they'd accept something like that as a political hit?

        Okay, yes and yes. Despicable woman.

      • Gabby 16.1.3

        Sounds a bit like contempt, that does. Carsehole would've taken some pretty thick umbrage.

      • mosa 16.1.4

        "Harbouring a criminal "

        Let's wait for the National party to hand over its criminals first including former recent leaders.

        FFS !

  16. bwaghorn 17

    I cant believe they are going to destroy the documents of the inquiry.

    Some one pleade get a fucking court order now to stop that happening.!!!

  17. Sacha 18

    Bennett tells RNZ she would have gone to the Police regardless of the inquiry's confidentiality commitments (what a surprise) and is emphatic that she handled the Jami-Lee Ross equivalent perfectly, so there: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018696274/paula-bennett-speaker-should-have-gone-to-police

  18. Ad 19

    Impressive to hear Paula Bennett claim on RNZ that National had nothing to do with sustaining this Parliamentary culture.

    This is despite being the largest party in Parliament for five straight terms, the largest number of staff, and a clear and strong record of black ops against other Parliamentarians a la Eagleton, Ede and all the rest of them.

  19. peterlepaysan 20

    Given how egotistical one has to be to want to be a parliamentarian the revealed culture cannot be a surprise.

    Self entitlement to subservience from lesser beings is essential.

    "Do you know who I am" is the unsaid mantra (said by whatshisname, famously).

    Mercifully I have had not too many close dealings with parliamentarians. Mostly civil but have observed some disturbing attitudes and behaviour.

    Insecure playground bullies do like to strut their stuff.

  20. George 21

    Sadly what we see here in this report of the culture at parliament the government and all it's support services is the epitome of our behavior towards each other at the highest levels of service to our country. This is the model of how we treat each other on a daily basis. These attitudes are filtering into all our public services, DHBs Educational institutions and through anything and everything associated with government. It's like an infection. We the public deserve better from the people we elected and those we fund. They need to consider their positions and their moral bankruptcy. They are responsible for a sick system. It's got to stop regardless of political affiliation.

    • Anne 21.1

      They started filtering in 30 years ago George. There was a hiatus between 1999 and 2008 and then it started all over again. We are now reaping the effects of years of self-serving, bully boys and girls in or close to the upper echelons, and it's going to take a long time to get the Public Service back the way it was meant to be – providing services for the benefit of all NZers and not just for the chosen few.

      • OnceWasTim 21.1.1

        +1 @ Anne. Unfortunately, what we're seeing is the bare minimum being done to make improvements – which is really disappointing considering we were promised transformation. (E.g. an updated website here, a meeting or two there). It seems there is a lot of pushback at play behind closed doors from those upper echelons – especially those that have managed to capture their responsible Ministers

        • George 21.1.1.1

          @oncewastim

          There's still a lot of the old guard left implanted like veruccas barely visible but still causing significant pain.

          • OnceWasTim 21.1.1.1.1

            Ae! For me, it's just somewhat disappointing the current junta hasn't yet worked out where the problem is.

            (How foolish could I have been to swallow the sales talk? Hpoe and Change I 'spose. Especially since we're 18 months in to it all)

  21. One Two 22

    Hardly a surprise that the established frameworks which are supposedly responsible for the well being of NZ and its inhabitants…is an abject failure in this regard as well…

    Parliament/government failings are propagated directly onto society…

    And can be seen as a reflection of the darkness which runs the show.

  22. Michael 23

    Name and shame the bullies or this behaviour will continue.

    • Anne 23.1

      Nah Michael. They rarely get named and shamed and I'll tell you why:

      During the course of their bullying they make false claims about their target/targets to their superiors thus implicating them [the superiors] in further harassment of the target. That ultimately leads to a cover-up in order to protect the reputations of the superiors.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 23.1.1

        Agreed Anne, although if there is a mechanism to communicate serious concerns (with evidence) to a CEO shortly before they ‘move on’, then they may do the right thing.

        But luck has to be on your side re mechanisms, timing and (of course) the CEO – a rare combination.

  23. R.P Mcmurphy 24

    some of those people should smoke some pot.

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